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- It is impossible to maintain one's composure in this situation. What am I doing here? — especially considering the extraordinary group of women with whom I was nominated. We five women were fortunate to have the choice, not just the opportunity but the choice, to play such rich, complex female characters. And I congratulate producers like Working Title and Polygram for allowing directors to make autonomous casting decisions based on qualifications and not just market value. And I encourage writers and directors to keep these really interesting female roles coming — and while you're at it you can throw in a few for the men as well.
- We are a bunch of hooligans and anarchists but we do clean up nice. I want to thank every single person in this building. And my sister Dorothy. I love you, Dot. And I especially want to thank my clan, Joel and Pedro "McCoen." These two stalwart individuals were well-raised by their feminist mother. They value themselves, each other and those around them. I know you are proud of me and that fills me with everlasting joy.
And now I want to get some perspective. If I may be so honored to have all the female nominees in every category stand with me in this room tonight, the actors — Meryl, if you do it, everybody else will, c'mon — the filmmakers, the producers, the directors, the writers, the cinematographer, the composers, the songwriters, the designers. C'mon! Okay, look around everybody. Look around, ladies and gentlemen, because we all have stories to tell and projects we need financed. Don't talk to us about it at the parties tonight. Invite us into your office in a couple days, or you can come to ours, whatever suits you best, and we'll tell you all about them.
I have two words to leave with you tonight, ladies and gentlemen: "inclusion rider."
- I just found out about this last week. There is — has always been available to all — everybody … that does a negotiation on a film, an "inclusion rider" which means that you can ask for and/or demand at least 50 percent diversity in not only the casting, but also the crew. And so, the fact that we — that I just learned that after 35 years of being in the film business … we're not going back. So the whole idea of women "trending" — no. No "trending". African Americans "trending" — no. No "trending". It changes now, and I think the inclusion rider will have something to do with that.
- I don't show up all the time. I only show up when I can and when I want to, but I was there at the Golden Globes and it's almost like there was an arc that started there. It doesn't end here. But I think publicly — as a commercial (because that's what we are, this is not a — this is not — this is not a novel — this is a TV show after all) — but I think that the message that we're getting to send to the public is that we're going to be one of the small industries that try to make a difference.
- On the forms of social activism evident in the film industry's awards shows, in her 90th Oscars backstage interview (4 March 2018)
The New York Times interview (2017)
- We’re avant-garde. It doesn’t mean we have to be unhygienic.
- I was never that involved in the machine of press and publicity as an actor because I’ve always kind of worked on the margins of my profession … And then when my son was younger and it did get a little bit more intrusive, I tried to come to terms with how I was personally going to handle someone coming up to me on the street and wanting some part of my time. … Now what I do — because this is how I live — when someone approaches me and says, "Can I have your autograph," I say: "No, I’ve retired from that part of the business. I just act now." … I say: "What’s your name?" … I touch them. I look at them. I have a real exchange … I’m not an actor because I want my picture taken. I’m an actor because I want to be part of the human exchange.
- My politics are private, but many of my feminist politics cross over into my professional life. Because I portray female characters — so I have the opportunity to change the way people look at them. Even if I wasn’t consciously doing that, it would happen anyway, just because of how I present as a woman, or as a person. I present in a way that’s not stereotypical, even if I’m playing a stereotypical role. … I can’t subtract that from myself anymore. I could when I was younger. … That’s another great thing about getting older. Your life is written on your face.
Quotes about McDormand
- Its way overdue but at least its happening and I couldn’t be more happy —and to see all those women who had been nominated or had won standing up in the audience — it was a very smart thing for her to do.
- Julie Andrews, on McDormand's call for greater recognition of women in all aspects of film making, and for diversity in productions, with her promotion of "inclusion riders, in "Julie Andrews praises McDormand's 'smart' Oscar speech", Associated Press report (6 March 2018)
- Frances McDormand, or Fran, as she is called in regular life, cuts a handsome figure on the street. She is 60 and sexy in the manner of women who have achieved total self-possession. She eschews makeup unless she is working, doesn’t dye her hair and despises the nips, tucks and lifts that have become routine for women of her profession. Her clothes are well made — she loves clothes — but utilitarian and comfortable. … Over the course of her 36-year career, McDormand has played women who are attractive but rarely beautiful, magnetic but thorny — and, she notes, they’re usually the supporting player in a man’s story. To this day she is best known for Marge, but Marge had much less screen time than people remember. Her slightly daffy good-heartedness serves as the foil for the murderous men who occupy most of Fargo … In the last 10 years, something shifted for McDormand: Right as she hit the age when most actresses begin disappearing for lack of roles or moving to the edges of story lines, she moved to first billing. For decades, she excelled at the work of embroidering the lives of women who aren’t deemed appealing enough to watch for two hours straight, and rather than aging into a different acting type, she has taken it upon herself to put peripheral women at the center.